Oct 31, 2009

Top Five Unnecessary Horror Sequels

I'm trying to steer clear of the straight-to-video fare that would probably populate this list - I'm looking at you, 'American Psycho 2' - and sticking rather with sequels, preferably earlier ones, that just don't justify existence. I won't delve into 'Leprechaun in Space' or 'Freddy vs. Jason' due to their tongue-in-cheek nature. These franchises know they have drained the well, and so to place them on the list would be redundant. Most of the list is populated by movies whose first incarnations had such surprise success at the box office that the studios rushed a lame sequel to the theaters to make a few extra bucks, so most of them deserve my ridicule.

1. The Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Shadows

In a shameless cash grab, Artisan capitalized on the astoundingly unexpected fame of the first Blair Witch Project with 'Book of Shadows'. 'The Blair Witch Project' was so original, and more an execution of a brilliant idea than an actual film, that a sequel would have been (and proved to be) not only ill-conceived but unnecessary as well. How could they have expected to even come close to the phenomenon that was 'The Blair Witch Project'? Not since 'Halloween' had a low-budget flick commanded so much attention, and for good reason. It created a buzz by using the internet against cynics, going so far as to create web sites swearing up and down as to the events' authenticity, and so scores of people bought into the myth created by the movie, which made it even scarier than its stomach-turning camera work.

'Book of Shadows' is a bastard child of 'Scream' and any number of wink-wink-nudge-nudge postmodern horror flicks that dominated the late 90s, and its 'hipness' only takes it so far, which is not very far at all. Each character is a walking stereotype, the plotting is incoherent and transforms the film into a crappy suspense story by the end, and, well, basically everything about it is half-hearted and half-assed.

However, looking backward from 'Burn Notice', I will admit that Jeffrey Donovan's presence almost makes it worth a watch.

2. Jaws 2

Though it didn't entirely wreck the first Jaws movie - the third and fourth ones accomplished that - 'Jaws 2' is on the list for one simple reason: THEY KILLED THE SHARK IN THE FIRST MOVIE. Not only that, they killed off the most charismatic of the characters from the first movie, Robert Shaw's Quint, and Richard Dreyfuss is nowhere to be found. Granted, they were going for something different in the second movie, but the whole draw of the first movie (arguably) was the three main characters and not necessarily the shark. Once the trio of characters are broken up - from the chickenshit Sheriff Brody to the irascible Quint - the movie loses something ineffable.

Plus, the possibility of two such rampaging Great Whites is so miniscule as to defy logic, even for movie audiences, and even forgiving that possibility to a certain degree, certain parts of the second movie are so blatantly ripped from the first flick that they truly make this movie a no-brainer for the list. The ending, especially, makes it hard to believe that they had enough material to make a second movie. He electrocutes the shark. By himself. Out at sea. I'm being overly obtuse, though, since they couldn't very well have ended the movie in a theme park or a football stadium or anything, but watching the movie as an adult makes you wonder how much juice was left in the *shark* tank. Sorry.

3. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

'Still' suffers from some of what plagues 'Jaws 2'. A majority of the cast members did not show for the sequel...because they died in the first movie. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, the dude from 'Big Bang Theory', they're all gone and have been replaced by Jack Black in white-dreads. Terrifying, but in a different way.

Since the movie was obviously too white and WASP-ish the first time around, they went and paired Jennifer Love Hewitt with a black best friend and set them off on a tropical getaway, giving this movie the same sort of Agatha Christie sort of feel as the first one without any modicum of creepiness that helped the first become a success. What we end up getting is a toothless carbon copy of the first film, sporting fewer scares than a car ride with Brandy.

4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

I'm including the fourth Halloween film at the behest of The Moviegoer, and for good reason: Halloween 4 (and all of the following sequels) steers the franchise back toward Michael Myers, and while plenty of people may say the third film is the most gratuitous (due in part to its incomprehensible and Myers-less storyline), 'Return' just turns the series into a cliched horror romp featuring an unkillable killer. At least 'Halloween 3' tried to do something different with the franchise, and 'Halloween 2' is safe because it ostensibly picks up just after the first movie's cliffhanger ending.

[Let me also take this opportunity to say that I briefly considered the second Rob Zombie 'Halloween' in its place, due in large part to the fact that Zombie originally intended his first movie to render sequels impossible. Only through a few pirouettes of plotting can a second movie take place, but H2 did not hold a candle to the redundancy of 'Return of Michael Myers.]

5. Carrie 2: The Rage

What should have been ostensibly a remake was instead a horrible, half-assed, ham-handed 'sequel' to the wonderful original film by Brian DePalma. 'Carrie 2' isn't necessarily legendary in being inessential, but it is a symbol for every bad (and usually straight-to-video) sequel to a Stephen King-based flick. All of the 'Children of the Corn' sequels, or the 'Mangler' sequels, or whatever, all can be contained in the decision to include 'The Rage' on this list.

This one just stands out because, rather than being a hastily thrown-together cash-raker of a movie - an offense which plagues the other movies on the list and is almost forgivable - 'Carrie 2' is embarrassingly, ridiculously, gut-wrenchingly late and irrelevant. Released an astounding twenty-three years after the original, 'Carrie 2' is a trying-too-hard clunker of a movie, just so filled with cliche that you could just pick the plot points from a list. Absolutely atrocious.

Oct 30, 2009

My Top Five Scream Queens

My Top Five Scream Queens, in no particular order
1. Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) - A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven's New Nightmare

To me, Heather Langenkamp is unrivaled in the realm of scream queens. I used to frequent a local video store with an extensive collection of horror flicks, and the one I looked at the most was Nightmare. Something about her wholesomeness - or the way she looked on the VHS box at Donna's Video - drew me in. I spent way too much of my mom's money renting that flick, and it's partly about Heather Langenkamp. Freddy might have had something to do with it, too, but without Ms. Langenkamp, it might have been just another mediocre horror flick.

2. Neve Campbell (Sydney) - Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3

It might be controversial to go with another Wes Craven queen so early in the list, but believe me when I say that Neve Campbell deserves the credit. As Sydney Prescott, she is as tough as they come, even for a suburban girl, punching, kicking, and taunting other characters like she was plucked from an action movie. 'Scream' deftly deconstructs the horror genre like no other film, with a killer script from Kevin Williamson and adroit direction from Wes Craven, and Neve Campbell is at the trilogy's center, so its reputation as a pop horror outing is ill-deserved and hardly accurate. It's no teen flick. It's R Rated and witty, something that most horror movies can't pull off without pandering.

And Neve never disrobes, not once. You'll have to go to 'Wild Things' for that kind of (un)coverage.

3. Jamie Lee Curtis - Halloween, Prom Night, Terror Train, The Fog

Even though her mother, Janet Leigh, sort of started the whole "Scream Queen" scene, Jamie Lee Curtis really embodied the idea at the height of its popularity, starring in several of the genre's most long-lasting movies. Even though 'Prom Night' and 'Terror Train' don't hold up as well today, 'Halloween' might just hold up better than it did over thirty years ago.

Beyond having plenty of skin, great music, wonderful cinematography, a great villain, and an unparalleled performance by Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis (a reference to 'Psycho' itself), 'Halloween' stars a charismatic Curtis as Laurie Strode, a bookish homebody whose Halloween goes horribly wrong. However, though 'Halloween' proved to be the performance that jump-started her career, getting cast in 'The Fog' as hiker Elizabeth Solley sent her into the scream queen stratosphere.

4. Adrienne Barbeau - The Fog, Swamp Thing, Creepshow, Escape from NY

Adrienne Barbeau had two big things going for her: her brief romance with John Carpenter, who cast her in 'The Fog'...and her breasts. Because of 'The Fog's marginal success, she was cast in other genre flicks, including a turn as Hal Holbrook's drunken wife in 'Creepshow' (I have never enjoyed seeing someone get eaten alive as much as I did during 'The Crate' segment). It is because of her brief run of cultish horror classics in the late 70s and early 80s that earned her a spot on this list.

5. Marilyn Burns - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Though her role as Sally Hardesty did not lead to any real, lasting fame, Marilyn Burns could not be excluded from this list of notable horror ingenues. Her performance does not stand out as superb, but man alive can she scream. The second half of the movie, in fact, is rife with her strained voice, almost as prevalent as the soundtrack itself. Burns must also be given credit for the sheer amount of torture she must have gone through in making the movie, considering that she's literally covered in blood by the end of it. Hats off.

Honorable Mentions:
Danielle Harris - Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Urban Legend, H2
Sarah Michelle Gellar - I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2
Janet Leigh - Psycho, The Fog
Sissy Spacek - Carrie
Linda Blair - The Exorcist
Drew Barrymore - Scream, Cat's Eye, Firestarter,

Oct 29, 2009

An Age When Facts Are Irrelevant

Have we reached an age in which facts are of no consequence? Nature.com has posted an article which has sparked my interest on the subject, and one of its premises is this: The assumption is that if they [scientists] explain things very, very clearly, everyone will understand. Unfortunately, this is an uphill battle.

The painfully unenlightened dialogue on the relative truth of scientific claims - we can never really "know" something - has digressed even farther, to the point that people, when confronted with evidence of an overwhelming variety, are able to appeal to belief in order to circumvent what has been said.

A consequence of being so surrounded by technology and knowledge is that we are free to disregard or contradict or subvert any claim with which we do not agree. Even the most uneducated person in America, with a desktop and an internet connection, can find corroborating evidence to support their beliefs, and this notion is specious and, in the end, unscientific. It is a gross misunderstanding of skepticism and thus deserves contemplation.

See, for example, I may believe that the Holocaust never happened. I may also believe that the events of the 'Iliad' never happened, either. Both are historical events, and I can only trust that both happened based on historical accounts, or available evidence. One glance at a photograph from Auschwitz will certainly convince any number of credulous people. Reading an account of an Auschwitz survivor depicted in one of the aforementioned photographs may convince slightly more skeptical people.

At this point, people may be able to still hold a certain amount of skepticism. If a picture and a few firsthand accounts were all we had, then we may feasibly doubt the existence of the Holocaust. It is certainly for that reason that people are unsure of the veracity of the war that is at the center of the 'Iliad'. The accounts are centuries behind the supposed events, so we are confident that we can discredit its actual happening.

The same is not true with the Holocaust. We do not have scant evidence for Hitler's persecution of the Jews, nor do we have very much wiggle room with regard to its truth, and yet people still do insist that the Holocaust either did not exist or was greatly exaggerated, despite the mounds upon mounds of evidence we have to prove otherwise.

I've taken a long detour here, but I'm getting back to my point. Let me, then, ask a question: Are Holocaust deniers mere skeptics? Are they even skeptics at all? How free am I to believe what I wish? Being on the other side, am I a member of the intellectual Gestapo if I insist that beliefs of an unfounded nature are simply unacceptable to hold in today's world? At what point do we stop accepting this kind of half-assed thinking? Is truth, as we experience it, really that malleable?

I do not mean to make a Straw Man out of the Holocaust deniers (though I think that few people would object to me ridiculing them), so let me move onto another subject: ghosts. Spirits. Poltergeists. Whatever you call them, there is a significant amount of observational evidence for their existence, and yet very little empirical, scientific evidence supports that the door that will not stay open in your grandmother's home has anything to do with the four people who were butchered there fifty years ago.

Most rational people reject the existence of ghosts, though, sight unseen. The white dots and inexplicable shadows on photographs do not point immediately to the idea that Uncle Bernie has come back in that form to...well, haunt a photograph. It's because the burden of proof is on the ghost hunters to make it so, and electromagnetic fields and dotted pictures do not pass snuff, just as random alignments of data do not point to the world ending in December of 2012.

The problem is that armchair skepticism has become the normal mode of expression of doubt in this country, and people are able to comfort themselves in constantly moving back the uprights on matters of evidence. Skeptics of evolution say that there are no "transitional" fossils in the record, using science's own language against it, and no matter how many actual, true transitional fossils scientists are able to haul out, people claim to have never seen them.

Perhaps it is because the science has outraced the common intellect. Scientists of two hundred years ago could be scientific hobbyists, and most people could identify with the claims being made and accept the facts because the facts were more or less the result of a thought experiment backed up with science and common sense. It's how we came to understand gravity, the lunar cycle, etc. Science now is so far beyond a common person's understanding that, by comparison, ghosts seem quite easy to believe in.

This, I'm afraid, is a problem. The burden of proof is always on the one who posits a truth - this IS so - rather than those who reject it. You do not, for example, have to prove that there are no fairies in my garden if I say so, or that there is not a pink elephant in my trunk, even if I stomp up and down and shout furiously. It is up to me, at that point, to bring about the compelling evidence. I can find millions of people to agree that there are, indeed, fairies in the garden, or that the squeaking noise in my attic is the spirit of a Civil War soldier come to find his bayonet, or that the Holocaust was a primitive and very successful Photoshop campaign, but if I cannot provide substantive scientific evidence to support my claims, then I really have no claim to proof.

[img source=Paul Gaugin - Don't Listen to the Liar]

Oct 28, 2009

Goodwill's eBay - Shopgoodwill.com

At Shopgoodwill.com, you can bid on items - usually going very cheaply - just like on eBay. The sight isn't as aesthetically pleasing or as easily managed as eBay, but you can find good deals and very odd items on the site. For example, I found a set of 16 Mark Twain novels from 1906 that are going for fifty bucks, and I'm extremely tempted to get them. It's very much like Goodwill itself in that you still have to sift through everything to find something good, but you may just find something worth the look

Oct 27, 2009

Kasabian Football/Soccer Hero

Microsoft Dropping Advertising from Seth Macfarlane Live Comedy Special

From Variety:

"Almost Live Comedy Show" was announced earlier this month as part of a major marketing partnership Microsoft had sealed with a wide range of News Corp. properties to promote the launch of the computer giant's Windows 7 operating system. As part of the deal, "Almost Live Comedy Show" was set to run commercial-free, with Microsoft marketing messages built into the special instead (Daily Variety, Oct. 14).

But that was before Microsoft execs attended the special's taping Oct. 16. The program included MacFarlane and Alex Borstein -- the voice of "Family Guy" matriarch Lois -- pitching Windows 7. For most of the special, however, MacFarlane and Borstein made typical "Family Guy"-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.

How were they shocked at this? Macfarlane and the others of the Family Guy crew have a solidly-developed shtick by this point, and it seems weird that they would pull out this close to airtime. Man, this is worse than the time that...[insert joke about pulling out].

[MacFarlane special loses Microsoft]

Scholastic Censors Book Depicting Gay Parents

From School Library Journal:

Luv Ya Bunches, about four elementary school girls who have little in common, but bond over the fact that they’re all named after flowers, is the first installment of a four-book series. But Scholastic says the book, released on October 1, failed to meet its vetting process because it contains offensive language and same-sex parents of one of the main characters, Milla.

The company sent a letter to Myracle's editor asking the author to omit certain words such as "geez," "crap," "sucks," and "God" (as in, "oh my God") and to alter its plotline to include a heterosexual couple. Myracle agreed to get rid of the offensive language "with the goal—as always—of making the book as available to as many readers as possible," but the deal breaker was changing Milla's two moms.

It's not upsetting to know that acts of censorship of this kind still happen in 2009. Any look at the newspapers will give you a clear idea of where many people stand on the issue. It's still depressing, however, as I know that, in about 20 years, this kind of occurrence will be considered shameful and backwards.

Scholastic Censors Myracle’s ‘Luv Ya Bunches’ from Book Fairs
[img credit=Flickr user KLHint]

Obama Admin. Refuses to Back Religion Anti-Defamation Bill

From MSN:

The Obama administration on Monday came out strongly against efforts by Islamic nations to bar the defamation of religions, saying the moves would restrict free speech.

"Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters. "I strongly disagree."

This is a bill that is probably very divisive among religious people, but it is decidedly anti-American, if you are a proponent of certain kinds of speech. No one, incidentally, backs attacking people because of their religious beliefs, but the beliefs themselves are an entirely different story. It seems as though certain Islamic sects are presenting an effort to curb one's ability to be critical of actions based on belief, trying to paint those who are critical as "persecuting" Islam itself.

U.S. Opposes Bid to Bar Religious Defamation

Oct 26, 2009

Death Troopers

From io9.com:

The storyline for Death Troopers is pretty simple, really — an Imperial prison barge, during the years right before the original Star Wars movie, runs into some engine trouble. Good thing they find a Star Destroyer in the middle of nowhere, which they can cannibalize for parts. Unfortunately, the Star Destroyer has some kind of weird virus on board, which kills everyone it comes into contact with... and the people who die don't stay dead. And that's about it.

I've never really gotten into reading Star Wars fanfic (which is basically what this is), but I might actually end up checking this book out (from the library), because I am, as we know, all about the zombies.

PS: Does anybody think it's bad-ass that a lot more books are coming with their own commercials these days (though I think this one in particular is fan-made)? I certainly do!

[Turns Out There's Something Darker Than The Dark Side]

Ghostbusters III - Bill Murray Speaks

I got this video from over Bam Kapow! It's Bill Murray talking (briefly) about Ghostbusters III. It seems as though the video takes forever to load, so be patient with it. Basically, though, there's no script, so we don't have much to go on but internet rumors, and we know that those don't always come to fruition.

Catching Elevators

This is, without a doubt, one of the eeriest and most disturbing news stories I've read this year. It deserves to be read. Go check it out at the Houston Press News. Makes you want to think twice about using the elevator.

She wasn't able to find the Door Open button before the elevator started moving upward. "When you get on an elevator, if it closes on you, it's supposed to open back up," she told officers. "There wasn't any of that. There was no hesitation. The doors shut and it went."

Nikaidoh struggled, trying to shrug out of the elevator, or possibly pull himself inside, she said, but the elevator kept moving upward. The ceiling sliced off most of his head. His left ear, lower lip, teeth and jaw were still attached to his body, which fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft, as the elevator continued moving upward.

Oct 25, 2009

Shutter Island Graphic Novel

It appears as though, to coincide with the release of the film, a graphic adaptation of Shutter Island will be released.

I'm currently a dozen or so pages into the novel, so a graphic version would be a nice little treat post-Christmas. That is indeed a lot of pressure for the film version. Thank God it's Scorsese behind the camera. It's the third movie adaptation of one of author Dennis Lehane's works (unless I'm missing one), and I hope it's as good as 'Mystic River' or 'Gone, Baby, Gone'.

Shutter Island: The Graphic Novel will be released on January 5, 2010.

Scientologist Walks Out On 'Nightline' Interview

Scientology is a religion that most people have no qualms openly denigrating, or hectoring its believers, and as ludicrous as the beliefs are, no one has defended their right to believe what they wish. Why, I wonder. I am not concerned with defending Scientologists, by any means, but I am curious how people could be so questioning of the kind of lunacy displayed here and not of other religious sects. I know I'm being somewhat obtuse by wondering about a question to which I already have the answer, but it does serve a purpose. What would happen if a journalist asked if God would consciously relate his most important words to an illiterate man, or would find it necessary to have his own son nailed to a cross? The interviewees would not grow defensive, first of all, because they exist in a state of almost astounding certitude about the state of Mohammed or Jesus, but if we changed the question to include practices that have nearly been whited out of the Bible or Koran, then I'm sure we'd have a similar reaction to the one above. I'm just curious.

Recently, Paul Haggis (Crash) left the Church of Scientology after 35 years, due to its San Diego branch supporting Prop 8, which effectively banned gay marriage in California.

Haggis goes on to list other factors -- he was shocked when Davis claimed in an interview with John Roberts on CNN that Scientology did not support the practice of "disconnection." Haggis knew that Davis was lying. He himself was asked to "disconnect" from the parents of his wife, Deborah Rennard, who had left Scientology.

Haggis also says he read the recent St. Petersburg Times series, quoting recent high-level Scientology defectors like Rathbun, who claimed that Miscavige physically abuses church members. In response, Davis attacked the people who spoke to the Times by using material that was obviously gathered in confidential church services -- a form of retaliation called "fair game" that Scientology has long been known for, but that the church publicly claims it doesn't do.

Astronomy Picture: The Crab Nebula

From Astronomy Pic of the Day:

This is the mess that is left when a star explodes. The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. The filaments are not only tremendously complex, but appear to have less mass than expelled in the original supernova and a higher speed than expected from a free explosion.

Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU); Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin (Skyfactory)

The Escapist - Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

In some respects, I do find the overuse of Mario in the Nintendo world a bit annoying, but at the same time, I can't blame Nintendo, really. I mean, Mickey Mouse is a ubiquitous douche, but the paradox is that, if he weren't plastered on the front of every Disney item imaginable, then I'd promptly ask, "Huh, well, why didn't they think to add Mickey Mouse to this?" So that's where the argument against Mario breaks down for me, I guess.

Oct 24, 2009

Darth Vader Halloween Costume

The Most Annoying Song Ever (No, Really!)

From Wired.com:

An online poll conducted in the ’90s set Vitaly Komar, Alex Melamid and David Soldier on a quest to create the most annoying song ever. After gathering data about people’s least favorite music and lyrical subjects, they did the unthinkable: they combined them into a single monstrosity, specifically engineered to sound unpleasant to the maximum percentage of listeners. The song is not new, but it resurfaced on Dial "M" for Musicology.

You can hear the song over on Wired or you can go over to M for Musicology to give it a listen. No doubt, it would make me give up whatever sensitive information I had, but what do YOU think about it?

Baby Einstein Videos Don't Make for Baby Einsteins

From the New York Times:

They [Baby Einstein Videos] may have been a great electronic baby sitter, but the unusual refunds appear to be a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect.

“We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has been pushing the issue for years.

What Happens When Dogs and Children are Left Alone

Oct 23, 2009

The Axis of Awesome - "4 Chords"

The four chords that are used in Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin' are (of course) used in a ton of other songs. To see just how many, watch The Axis of Awesome's '4 Chords'. It's a pretty nice montage of pop songs that use the same four chords, and it's well put together. It's not a conspiracy or anything. A limited number of basic chords exist, and these songs share the same ones. You could do the same with any four chords, and it would include an astounding number of songs.

DVD Rental May Be Delayed to Up Revenue

From The LA Times:

In an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale.

Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster Inc. and Netflix Inc. would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. The move comes as the studios are grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, which has long propped up the movie business.

I'm just shooting from the hip here, but this seems like a very bad, ill-advised, and quite bewildering turn of events. This new policy - I'll call it DVD Blue Balls - may work for the first few DVD releases, but one people (smart enough to use Netflix instead of Blockbuster) will just mentally change the release date to "seven weeks later" and just wait for the movie, rather than rush out to buy it.

There are movies that I will buy. I'll go to a local (chain) establishment and pluck the DVD from the rack and pay for it, regardless if I COULD rent it or not. If the movie is worth buying, I'll get it the same day.

If not, though, I usually won't buy it at all, and I usually don't have a burning desire to see the movies I didn't buy, so I could totally wait the seven weeks to see it. I'm not everybody, I know, but I still probably buy more movies than most people, and I think this is a demonstrably silly proposal, so I can't wait to snicker at its imminent failure. I do hate that the movie industry is losing money, but initiating such backwards policies makes them a necessary and deserved target.

David Cross, Cocaine, and President Obama

From Popeater.com:

He's a comedian, so who knows if he's joking or not, but David Cross is claiming he brought cocaine to the recent White House Correspondents' Association dinner and snorted it "maybe 40 feet from" the president.

Oct 22, 2009

Fat Boys - Are You Ready for Freddy?

Ghostbusters A Capella

The Internet Has Embarrassed Even Itself - AccidentalDong.com

Accidental Dong is in itself a byproduct of the internet's users racing toward the bottom. I have no problem with that, as I am often in the throes of salacious commentary on the phallic nature of most things, including shadows and monuments. That's why I've included this blog, as a testament to our ever awe-inspiring innovation of the perverse. Ten years ago, I don't think the world could have imagined such a thing as Accidental Dong a possibility in the world. It seemed too crass and obvious for even the most common purveyor of, say, 'Scary Movie'. But today's climate has allowed such a thing to exist, and so I feel obliged to include it here. Enjoy.

Oct 21, 2009

Eddie Riggs in Metalocalypse

21 Credulity-Straining Celebrity Cameos

The AV Club just posted a list of 21+ cameos that "stretch the meaning of himself", including my personal favorite, the awe-inspiring not-Malkovich in 'Being John Malkovich'. It's a flick that most people don't like the first time through - I certainly didn't - but that grows with each uncomfortable viewing.

From The AV Club

The script calls for a fey, temperamental, self-absorbed Malkovich, and the real one complies, playing the role to the hilt; reportedly Jonze and Kaufman spent years persuading him to take the role on after he refused several times. It was well worth the effort.

The Music Industry Has Lost Its Collective Mind, Officially.

From BBC News:

A shop assistant who was told she could not sing while she stacked shelves without a performance licence has been given an apology. Sandra Burt, 56, who works at A&T Food store in Clackmannanshire, was warned she could be fined for her singing by the Performing Right Society (PRS).

However the organisation that collects royalties on behalf of the music industry has now reversed its stance. They have sent Mrs Burt a bouquet of flowers and letter of apology.

I know that this trope is overused, but I wonder what George Orwell (or Kurt Vonnegut, for that matter) would have to say about this. It's so absurd that I'm nearly - NEARLY - speechless about it. The story almost seems like something a satirist would write to make a jab at the music industry.

I would also like to take a moment to pat myself on the back. This post represents Jinx Protocol's 1000th entry. Thanks, JOAJ, for bringing that to my attention. Hooray me!

On Gaming Addiction - Kotaku.com

Stroll on over to Kotaku.com, where you can read a horror story of an article about the costs of gaming addiction.

According to Dr. Hilarie Cash, the executive director of the reSTART internet and gaming addition recovery program and co-author of the book "Video Games & Your Kids: How Parents Stay in Control," retreating inside a video game to avoid real world problems is a common cause of "video game addiction."

The article's author basically descends into an obsessive state over EverQuest - way back in the year 2000! - and loses his job and girl in the process. Altogether, it's kind of reminiscent of an episode of Intervention without the stint in rehab. I don't say that to be patronizing of gaming addiction, but I do find myself wondering when this particular issue will come to be taken seriously. Even thinking about gaming as a serious form of addiction is hard to swallow, especially for the non-gamer.

The one thing I can say, though, is that people suffering from gaming addiction can often use that experience later in life in an actual job setting (just as the blog poster did), but you don't see that very often in the realm of actual drug addiction (unless it's in the realm of prevention). You don't see heroin addicts becoming needle salesmen, for example. But I'm sure there's someone out there who is.

Ninja Gaiden Arcade?

Obviously, I don't remember the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden. Had I played it, I might have never been as big a fan of the console version as I was (and still am). I guess I'm just not into beat-em-ups in general, and with the turtle crawl that is the screen scroll in this game, I can't be blamed for that. I found this video over at Topless Robot:

Ninja Gaiden was one of the hardest games ever for the NES, what with all its regenerating goddamn birds, but it was also widely known as a great one with a badass protagonist and enemies that exploded as soon as you touched them with a sword. The arcade game plays like another game entirely; it's a beat-em-up where you fight guys in Jason masks. And how do you fight them, pray tell? Well, the best way is to do a ninja flip and throw them over your head. It's great.

Nina Gordon (Veruca Salt) Covers NWA

Here are the lyrics, in case you'd like to sing along:
Straight outta Compton crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube
From the gang called Niggaz With Attitude
When I'm called off I got a sawed off
Squeeze the trigger and bodies are hauled off
You too boy if ya fuck with me
The police are gonna hafta come and get me
Off yo ass that's how I'm goin out
For the punk motherfuckers that's showin out
Niggaz start to mumble, they wanna rumble
Mix em and cook em in a pot like gumbo
Goin off on a motherfucker like that
with a gat that's pointed at yo ass
So give it up smooth
Ain't no tellin when I'm down for a jack move
Here's a murder rap to keep you dancin
with a crime record like Charles Manson
AK-47 is the tool
Don't make me act the motherfuckin fool
Me you can go toe to toe, no maybe
I'm knockin niggaz out tha box, daily
yo weekly, monthly and yearly
until them dumb motherfuckers see clearly
that I'm down with the capital C-P-T
Boy you can't fuck with me
So when I'm in your neighborhood, you better duck
Because Ice Cube is crazy as fuck
As I leave, believe I'm stompin
but when I come back, boy, I'm comin straight outta Compton

Oct 20, 2009

Newest Left 4 Dead 2 Trailer

Chuck Klosterman - Eating the Dinosaur

Chuck Klosterman may just be the snarkiest human being alive, but if you enjoy his brand of irreverent, sometimes poignant humor, then you should be in for a treat.

I can't say that for sure, of course, since I haven't read the book yet myself, but if works like Killing Yourself to Live and Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs are any indication of Klosterman's ability to skewer modern pop culture, then I have no qualms in supporting it.

What Klosterman does especially well is take a given assumption - country music sucks / people hate country music - and analyze it so that he doesn't necessarily agree but finds a more prescient truth hidden in the debate. That is the brilliance in his writing. He's not just a music snob casually hurling spittle on cheap and tawdry forms of music (or at culture at large). He's often surprising in his observations, and that's what draws me into his writing every time.

Here's a blurb from Amazon:

In Eating the Dinosaur, Klosterman is more entertaining and incisive than ever. Whether he's dissecting the boredom of voyeurism, the reason why music fan's inevitably hate their favorite band's latest album, or why we love watching can't-miss superstars fail spectacularly, Klosterman remains obsessed with the relationship between expectation, reality, and living history. It's amateur anthropology for the present tense, and sometimes it's incredibly funny.

Vonnegut Reissues: Does His Work Hold Up?

From The Los Angeles Times:

Vonnegut started publishing in the early 1950s and, in 1969, came out with "Slaughterhouse-Five," recently reissued by Dial Press -- along with "Sirens of Titan," "Mother Night" and "Galapagos," all $15 -- a miracle book that both distilled everything its writer knew and caught the wave of America's damaged, deranged Vietnam-era mood. The worldwide splash made by "Slaughterhouse-Five" turned Vonnegut into a wealthy celebrity, and thereafter it came to seem that everything he'd written before had been a kind of preparation, while what he wrote after merely drifted in that book's wake. That judgment is true in a way and yet totally unfair -- a very Vonnegutian formulation -- although "Slaughterhouse-Five" does remain central.

[Paperback Writers: Slaughter and Rubble]

Oct 19, 2009

When Nerds Get Knives: Einstein Pumpkin

At the top here is the final product of the pumpkin art, and below is the time-lapse video of how the artist goes about making these creations. If you're intrigued at these elaborate pumpkin artworks, check out Pumpkin Gutter.

Super Mario Bros. Wedding Cake

LP, in looking for cake toppers for our wedding, brought to my attention a peculiar cake similar to the one posted here. It'll never happen for our wedding, but I can dream, can't I?

Oct 18, 2009

Are Video Games the New B-Movies?

From Peter Suderman (via Andrew Sullivan):

I’ve been playing a lot of Killzone 2 this week — which, by the way, I highly recommend — and, in many ways, it’s really just an interactive B-movie. The scripted bits that carry along the in-game action consist almost exclusively of tough-guy cliches pieced together from the last forty years of action movies, comic books, and war films. It’s silly, outrageous, over-the-top, and incredibly entertaining — just like a good B-movie should be.

People don't generally make out (or get it on) in the backseat of a '64 Chevy while a video game is playing out, though.

Jupiter's Moon, Europa, Has Enough Oxygen to Support Life

From PhysOrg:

New research suggests that there is plenty of oxygen available in the subsurface ocean of Europa to support oxygen-based metabolic processes for life similar to that on Earth. In fact, there may be enough oxygen to support complex, animal-like organisms with greater oxygen demands than microorganisms.

In addition, the moon's ocean contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.

This may turn out to be an important find indeed, since it is often thought that an atmosphere conducive to life would be much farther away from us than one of Jupiter's moons. We are only in the early stages of learning about the surface of Europa, but if you're interested in the moon and its potential for life, you can check out Richard Greenberg's Unmasking Europa: the Search for Life on Jupiter's Ocean Moon.

Oct 16, 2009

I Wanna Hld Your Handheld, Vol 1

From 8-bit Operators:

Conceived and compiled by long-time electronic artist and 8-bit composer, Jeremy Kolosine (a.k.a. Receptors), the 8-BIT OPERATORS collective features some of the top 8-bit artists from North America, South America, Asia, and Europe, a selection of the best musical innovators, and several of the inventors themselves.

Other than being somewhat strange - the vocals make me think a ghost has invaded the computer - the album is really, very cool. Even if some of the tracks aren't very good (I'm looking at you, 'Come Together'), overall Handheld is definitely more interesting than plenty of other Beatles tribute records I've listened to in the past. I'm especially digging the 8-bit versions of 'For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!' and 'Sgt. Pepper's'.

You can stream the entire album online right now, and I think - but I'm not sure - that you can download it as well. In addition, one of the contributing bands - Anamanaguchi - has an album (and a web site!), which you can stream online or purchase on iTunes. You can go to the site to pick up the album, 'Dawn Metropolis'.

It's pretty good, if you can get into 8-bit music. And I, loyal readers, most certainly can. It sounds like the soundtrack to 'Megan Man 2' mixed with 'The Killers'.

[I Wanna Hld Your Handheld, Vol. 1]

Race With the Devil (1975)

JoBlo has put up a short feature on one of my favorite cult flicks from the 70s: Race with the Devil.

Two couples on an RV road trip head toward Aspen with visions of having the perfect vacation ... until they go ahead and witness a cult sacrifice. Now they have to outrun, and outthink, what seems to be an entire county of satanic murderers.

It's a movie that, while not very popular, would do well with a re-make. The Moviegoer has said explicitly that it would benefit from being helmed by Rob Zombie, and I'd have to say that I would agree with him. It's tawdry, and gruesome, and is filled with exploitation cliches. It'd be perfect for Zombie to do.

Disney Is Just Not That Into 'Ho White' Beer Ads

According to Slashfood (via BoingBoing), Disney has placed a gag order on ads for Australian brewery's (Jamieson) raspberry ale.

An Australian beer advertisement has reportedly ticked off Disney because it features a Snow White lookalike lying in bed blowing smoke rings with seven undressed dwarves.

['Ho White' Australian Beer Ad Angers Disney]
[Disney Gags on Ho White Beer]

Movie Posters From Ghana

From Ephemera Assemblyman (via Tor.com):

In the 1980s video cassette technology made it possible for “mobile cinema” operators in Ghana to travel from town to town and village to village creating temporary cinemas. The touring film group would create a theatre by hooking up a TV and VCR onto a portable generator and playing the films for the people to see.

In order to promote these showings, artists were hired to paint large posters of the films (usually on used canvas flour sacks). The artists were given the artistic freedom to paint the posters as they desired - often adding elements that weren’t in the actual films, or without even having seen the movies.

[Film Poster Paintings from Ghana]

Oct 15, 2009

Michael Myers's Many Masks

'Halloween' is a horror franchise that has experienced plenty of ups and downs. Actually, that's not true. Basically, everything from Halloween 2 (or at the very least H3) all the way to Halloween: Resurrection represents a sharp slide downward. Let me put it this way: if it were K2, I wouldn't ski it.

Things got a little better when Rob Zombie signed on to direct a re-make. It was supposed to be a one-off movie, a sleazy piece of artwork lightly tracing over the original. Which was fine, and Zombie did a wonderful job with it. Sadly, ending the first re-make with a certain kind of headshot could not kill the limping juggernaut franchise, and an unfortunate sequel was made, with a third on the way (not directed by Zombie).

But this isn't about the 'Halloween' franchise (even though I nearly slipped off into a rant about it). This is about the masks worn by its irrepressible *protagonist, Michael Myers. Head over to Freddy in Space to view a collection of the worst versions of the Shatner mask ever designed. You'll be surprised at how inept mask designers can be. Walter Matthau eyebrows, really? Really?

Fearnet DVD Bodybags

Over at Best Buy, the Fearnet "body bag" versions of popular horror movies are on sale. You can buy one for $8.99 or two for $15. It's totally worth it if you don't have movies like: House of 1000 Corpses, Fido, The Devil's Rejects, High Tension (which I might actually have to pick up), Beyond Re-Animator, or Ju-On 2 (well, they're not all winners).

Oct 14, 2009

Steampunk is Taking over Oxford


See some of the best that the world of steampunk art has to offer, housed in the beautiful Ashmolean Building. This historic event was devised by its curator, one of the world’s greatest artists in his own right, Art Donovan, whose wonder and talent can be seen in this very show.

[Steampunk has taken over Oxford]

Epic Mickey - It's About Time

According to Destructoid:

The game's plot revolves around "forgotten" Disney characters. Obscure characters from long-forgotten cartoons and rides have been cast into a dark world of broken-down machinery and very bitter attitudes.

Jiminy Crickets, guys. That could be a beast of a game, if the cover of 'Game Informer' is any indication (and it most certainly is not).

Qui Gon Jin - Worst Jedi Ever

This 20-second montage is proof that there was a WHOLE lot more wrong with Episode I than Jar-Jar, right? But in posting this vid, I feel like I'm emphasizing an accepted point. Oh, wow, you say. Putting the smack down on Episode I? How ballsy! Yeah, well.

Daybreakers Poster

According to io9.com:

The new poster for futuristic vampire film Daybreakers gives us a closer look at the creepy, Matrix-like blood farm, where the remnants of humanity provide fresh blood for the vampires who run the world.

The film is scheduled for a January 2010 release.

A History of Landmark Destruction in Film

Over at Slate.com, there is a slide show depicting the destruction of numerous landmarks in film, complete with accompanying video. There is something fetishistic about it, I have to admit, especially seeing as how so many of the objects obliterated onscreen are phallic in nature. However, I have to admit that I flipped through the show slack-jawed. Taken separately, the films in question only take down one monument or two, but put them all together and it becomes a nerve-wracking endeavor.

From Slate:

Last summer, Keith Phipps put together a video slide show, accessible below, tracing the history of the destruction of national landmarks, beginning with Deluge, released in 1933, all the way to G.I. Joe and most of Roland Emmerich's oeuvre. "Movies," Keith writes, "have depicted mass destruction almost from the beginning."

I found a Youtube video - posted above - that goes well above and beyond the call in the area of Armageddon porn, showing in great detail much of the carnage you'd find in the Slate slideshow. The video, as opposed to the slideshow, lingers on humanity's desire to see itself end, at least in a cathartic way. It's almost as thought American film-going audiences have an EndTimes obsession. Thankfully its precepts have only played out onscreen and not in real life.

Kevin Smith - A Back-Door Man

Kevin Smith's new movie, 'A Couple of Dicks', comes out in February, and he's already begun the press circuit for it (sort of). Here he is talking about 'Dicks' on WSJ.com. It's the first flick he's directed that he did not write, and I've seen (or heard) in other places that this might be a better deal for him, director-wise. He's said more than once that 'Dicks' is the sort of buddy cop movie he would have envisioned himself writing, which gives him the freedom of making it his own without it being so personal to his life. He also takes a couple minutes to discuss how he's "a back-door man". Namely, he talks about every "in" he's had in various industries has come in a non-traditional manner (i.e. back-door).

Oct 13, 2009

Op-Ed: I Miss Bill Hicks

[This post has no point.]

Sometimes I wonder about the dead. Death is a constant source of contemplation in my life, and I can't help but think about people who have already slid off this mortal coil and how they might perceive the world today.

It's not anything particularly enlightening that I mull over. I'm not an existential whiz, by any means, but sometimes I'll be jogging, or watching "the news", or else surfing a web site, and think: "What would so-and-so say about this?"

Mostly, I think about comedians. Oh, sometimes I wonder how Kurt Cobain would see today's rock-and-roll scene, or what would have happened if John Lennon had initiated a long-term bed-in throughout the month of December in 1980. It's interesting to have a bemused moment over situations and how life might or might not have been different if this or that hadn't happened. It's only a natural part of life to envision such things.

But mostly - mostly - I think about comedians. My particular worldview has been irrevocably shaded by their comments, and though I enjoy certain modern comedians - thank God for David Cross - I am more often intrigued by those who have passed on.

Take Bill Hicks, for example. Hicks was, without really knowing it, a visionary of the first order. Well, see, that's part of the problem. I say these things, or I think them, and then I wonder: Is that true? Is praise over Hicks heightened partly because he's no longer with us? Maybe.

But I don't think about that for very long. We can never know a person's potential. Is Keith Richards less influential because he was able to ingest a South American country and persist? [shrugs] I am more concerned with what he might say today, in the midst of Obama's first year as president and all of its surrounding insanity. I also wonder what his thoughts might have been during the presidency of George W. Bush, but that is another post entirely.

It's not even necessarily that Bill Hicks was a visionary, or the funniest, or had his career cut tragically short (even though it was a robust 16-years, which is a lot for a comic). It's what Hicks represents, which relates to his premature death, but also to his place in the world. Hicks was more raw, less packaged, than a majority of even the rawest comics working today. Like artist who takes chances, he wasn't afraid to alienate the audience, or to challenge their sensibilities outright, and then pull them back in with a dick joke. Well, most artists don't pull listeners back in with a dick joke, but you get the idea.

His comedy was less slick but also distinctly his (depending on your opinion about Dennis Leary), and though in being topical some of it doesn't translate to this time and place - his bits on Billy Ray Cyrus, though, have become ironically relevant again - most of it still resonates. Before he died of cancer in 1994, Hicks was able to ponder issues like: gays in the military, the (first) Iraq War, right-wing radio hosts running the Republican party, and drug legalization, all of which are still prescient today. 'Relentless' may be my favorite comic album, and for good reason. It stands out for being more than a comedy album. It's a manifesto, and like 'Rant in E-Minor', encapsulates everything in the man's demented philosophy.

Oct 12, 2009

Saw VI Trailer

I know it may be ridiculous to decry the lack of plot in a Saw trailer - especially for a sixth installment - but I do believe the filmmakers have let the last few drops of creativity spill out of the bucket this time. Saw V was atrocious on so many levels, especially considering that Jigsaw "died" all the way back in the 3rd installment, so I should not be surprised to see that the trailer reveals absolutely nothing in the way of story. It feels oxymoronic to actually wonder about story in Saw, but I am curious to know how far they can go to keep Jigsaw alive for these flicks. Opens October 23.

The Dark Knight/Blade Mash-Up

Bam Kapow! posted this wonderfully-done DK/Blade Mash-up. The editing is pretty phenomenal, especially where the dark cityscape scenes are concerned. They blend well together, and it kind of makes me want to see an actual Blade/DK movie, though in my heart of hearts I know it would be absolutely terrible.

Drag Me to Hell - DVD/Blu-Ray

'Drag Me to Hell' comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray tomorrow, and seeing it reminds me just how much I loved that movie the first time through. It's definitely not what you would expect, judging by the underwhelming trailer, but the movie itself delivers in a big way. It's not trendy in the way that most lobotomized remakes and horror porn duds are these days, so don't go in expecting that. It does have Sam Raimi's odd sense of humor/horror - amongst other things - going for it.

I highly recommend 'DMtH'. The casting is wonderful (Alison Lohman is just crazy hot), there is more blood than the PG-13 rating implies, and the star of the film are the sound effects. If you get 'DMtH' (Blu-Ray on Amazon), make sure you turn the volume up WAY loud to watch it. It'll be worth it.

Arden - The Shakespeare Video Game

There are MMORPGs about so, so, SO many things right now. Why not Shakespeare? Researchers interested in making an "educational" MMORPG based on the world and life of the bard from Stratford. From the site:

From June 2006 to May 2008, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Learning program, students and faculty in the Indiana University Department of Telecommunications built virtual worlds based on the works of William Shakespeare. Our objective was to build a world in which we could conduct social science experiments

Arden I is our "Shakespeare Game," the complex version that most people did not want to play. We created a village nestled in the countryside where you can talk to Falstaff, play cards with Nym, and ask Shylock about markets. It has a fairly complicated crafting economy. It has a Wheel of Fortune, complete with Fortune's Fool. It has a character who asks questions about Shakespeare and his plays; if you get enough right, you win a prize. In short, it has many things that one might want to see in a Shakespeare teaching environment. The problem is, Arden I was determined by our players to be, well, no fun at all. If you are thinking of building your own virtual world for education, collaboration, marketing, or some other serious purpose, you should download and experience Arden I to review an approach that, whatever its other merits, did not retain the attention of users.

If you have a hankering for Shakespeare, you can download the game on the web site. Enjoy!

Oct 11, 2009

NES Casemod Player - Wow

From Gizmodo:

Finally, an NES cartridge casemod I can get behind without weeping uncontrollably. This one houses a complete library of NES games, uses the original buttons, and hides inside the Super Mario/Duck Hunt combo cartridge. But wait, there's more:

There's also an mp3 player, movie player and an FM radio receiver. The video out is also intact, meaning this little guy can be used to play on the big screen.

What Would Happen If We Tried to "Play" This NES Emulator Cartridge Casemod?

Doghouse: The Trailer

From Film School Rejects:

Doghouse is the new film from Jake West (Evil Aliens) and is about a group of guy friends who take a road trip to help one of their own get over his ex. They end up in a town where the women outnumber the men three to one and the ratio keeps growing… because the ladies are killing and eating the dudes. Yes yes, sounds vaguely reminiscent of LVK, but judging by the new trailer Doghouse isn’t going to shy away from the red stuff.

Oct 10, 2009

To Catch a Predator: Predator Edition

In lieu of the cast of the new 'Predator' being revealed, I figured posting something snarky and hi-larious re:Predator was in order.

My original intention was to discuss the casting, but Bam Kapow has done such an awesomely thorough job, I won't even try it.

I will say that Danny Trejo is a good choice for the flick, and, though he's no Dutch, Adrien Brody is a good actor so I can get behind him as the lead. He was totally bad-ass in Hollywoodland.

The LA Times has posed a prescient question regarding Brody's box-office muscle, however:

If I were the head guys at Fox, I wouldn't just be wondering about whether Brody is a good fit for the part or not, but whether anyone would pay to see him in the leading role in a commercial film. His track record as a movie star is awfully thin, since most of the movies that relied on him for star power -- including such recent films as "Cadillac Records" and "The Jacket" -- barely made a dent at the box office, not to mention "Manolete," a film shot in early 2006 that stars Brody as the famed bullfighter that still hasn't been released in the U.S.

[Are You Kidding? Is Adrien Brody Our Next Action Hero?]

[New PREDATORS Cast Revealed]

A Shirt I REALLY Want!

While cruising the Blogosphere at a considerably slow pace, I came across the above Ghostbusters t-shirt, depicting a post-slime Peter Venkman. I think it turns green and glows in the dark. I am as close to lusting for a shirt as I have ever been.

Nerdcore Rising - the Trailer

"Nerdcore" is a pretty self-explanatory name for a new-ish type of hip-hop that combines beats with social awkwardness. From the site:

Hilariously entertaining, NERDCORE RISING introduces a new wave of hip-hop to the world called “Nerdcore” where computer obsessed geeks bust rhymes about the hard knock life of nerdom. The gut-busting comedy follows MC Frontalot the “Godfather of Nerdcore” on his first national tour where the roots of the genre, the dorky complexities of its artists, and one MC’s fight for nerd stardom is revealed.

[NerdCore Rising Movie]

Early Elvis/Cash/Perkins/Holly Footage - Classic

Here is (as it says in the video) perhaps the earliest footage of Elvis on record. I'm not a huge fan of Elvis himself, but the time period depicted, along with the key players in it - Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly - really intrigues me.

Oct 9, 2009

Cthulu Jesus

Click on the above image to enlarge it, because you simply can't get the level of detail needed to enjoy it by the limited scope here. It's a Photoshopped version of an earlier picture (though this one is obviously much better), and I just couldn't help but post it. Again, the level of detail is just magnificent.

[img source=p3on]

Idle Thumbs: Resident Evil 5 PC Hilarity

A classmate of mine in the English Ed. cohort told me about a video games podcast called Idle Thumbs, and once I have the time, I'm totally going to dive into it. Until then, however, all I've been able to watch is the video posted above, regarding the joy of playing RE5 with a REALLY experienced player.

New Super Mario Bros. for Wii Trailer

The new trailer for the side-scrolling Wii Mario Bros. is out, and it makes the game look phenomenal. I know they're making a Super Mario Galaxy II, but that seems redundant, or wrong, somehow. Every Mario game gets bigger in scope - Brothers, Land, World, 64 (3-D), Galaxy - and to repeat it makes it look like they're out of ways to have Mario transcend humanity. However, the old-school take on the franchise looks like a good way to go. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Ron Jeremy Was in 'Ghostbusters'

Indeed, Ron Jeremy - you may know him as "The Hedgehog" - was an extra in 'Ghostbusters'. Photographic proof was needed, and now here it is.

Oct 8, 2009

The Beauty of Photoshop

Talking about beauty being overrated is hard for me (because I'm so handsome), but I guess the least I can do is post this video, of a young woman - who looks more or less plain in the beginning - being Photoshopped into a state of beauty for an advertisement.

Oct 7, 2009

Sci-Fi Burger King

Burger Kings across the nation are trying to go a little more upscale by renovating their nearly 12,000 locations for a more sit-down feel.

According to the Huffington Post,

The company said the new design, called "20/20" at the Miami-based chain, is already in place at about 60 locations around the world. Burger King expects about 75 more redesigned restaurants to be open by the end of next year. But it will take years before all its locations are transformed.

However, based on my observations, the new BK stores look more like approximations of 60s science fiction sets. And I like it! Kind of makes me want to go and get a Whopper right now.

Steampunk R2-D2

Here is a steampunk R2D2, made by Deviant Art user ~amoebabloke.

[img source=~amoebabloke]

Jack the Ripper Identity Revealed?

According to the UK Telegraph:

[Historian] Mei Trow used modern police forensic techniques, including psychological and geographical profiling, to identify Robert Mann, a morgue attendant, as the killer.

There has been no shortage of suspects in the Jack the Ripper case - even Patricia Cornwell has put her two cents in - so it should be noted that the "case closed" notion should be taken with an air of skepticism.

However, the evidence here seems to jibe well with the facts in the case, and also may add two victims to the list.

After the killing of Polly Nichols, Jack's first recognised victim, Mann unlocked the mortuary for the police so they could examine the body and as such, was called as a witness in her inquest to help establish the cause of death.

Most damningly, he undressed Polly's body with his assistant, despite being under strict instructions from Inspector Spratling to not touch the body, and Trow suspects that this was an opportunity to admire his handiwork.

Post-It Note Atari

BoingBoing posted a video Tony Pichotta and Justin Grizzoffi made a few years ago entirely out of Post-It Notes. The result is a surreal approximation of a few notable Atari games.

Star Wars Uncut

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

From StarWarsUncut.com:

You and 472 other people have the chance to recreate Star Wars: A New Hope. Below is the entire movie split up into 15 second clips. Click on one of the scenes to claim it, film it, and upload it. You can have up to three scenes! When we're all done, we'll stitch it all together and watch the magic happen.

You can go to the site and watch already finished scenes, or volunteer to take on one as-yet unfilmed scene. In addition, you can also follow them on Twitter.